I believe for the vast majority of us in mainstream America, the most daunting task of our lives is figuring out what the heck we're supposed to do with this colossal thing we've been given called, "My Life". The reason I'm referring to it as a task is because you have to choose...choose whatcha gonna do or who ya gonna be. FOR. THE. REST. OF. YOUR. LIFE! No pressure, huh?!? Pardon me while I gasp for air.
Anyway, it's pretty much a guarantee that the typical American kid will get asked the age-old question by at least one grown-up in their lifetime, "So, who do you want to be when you grow up?" You know, that one with the nasally voice, starring down at you through their reading glasses propped on the end of their nose, remember? And the stereo-typical answers are: a fireman, a nurse, a pro athlete, a teacher, a doctor, an astronaut, the president or nowadays, a YouTube Star!
How blessed we are to live in a nation who advertises to all within their borders that we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of whatever makes us happy. Just do it, people! But, here's the kicker in that dang fine print on the advertisement, you know, the guarantees and warnings that most folks never read...
"Attention all citizens of the U.S., please note that whatever you choose to do with your life will determine your value, so please choose wisely. There can be no guarantees that your life choice will bring you happiness. We can NOT be held liable for any mental or emotional disorders brought on by undue duress of your choice or any costs incurred for your failed attempts or any psychotropic drugs prescribed to treat your mental/emotional disorders. Should you become dissatisfied with your life choice there will be no money returned and exchanges only upon receipt. Hope you will be satisfied and become a repeat customer."
How do you feel after reading that? Pretty heavy, I know. Even though I was using humor to make a hard point, the truth of it is tough to hear, because it leaves you feeling sucker punched. But, you gotta admit that it paints an accurate picture of where so many of us wind up in the game of LIFE.
Please understand, my intention is not to bash our freedom...that's my fave thing about being an American...well, that and the fast food. But herein lies my struggle, it's that the choosing process is based on a big fat lie! Yep. The belief that what we choose to do with our lives has the power to determine our worth is just wrong on so many levels. Here are the consequences of that believing this whopping lie:
the foundation of your life becomes, "You are only as good as what you do", which warps all your beliefs about love, acceptance, belonging, worth and ultimately God
it creates this undercurrent of scarcity in ALL of society that leaves us ALL living from a deficit -- surviving from a place of "Not Enough"
it drives people to perfection, which is humanly impossible -- although it looks like everyone but us has a perfect life on social media -- nevertheless, we force ourselves to perform, please and perfect everyday just to eek out enough worthiness to get up and do it all over again the next day
it breeds a "ME" society that reeks of competition, selfishness, self-centeredness, lust, greed, power, bullying, lust and just flat out meanness--all the things that can cause nations to crumble in a day
it fosters inadequacy and hopelessness of ever being good enough to be loved, feel acceptance or have value
it's the core of a web of life-sucking lies, meant for our destruction or at the very least, make our existence miserable
The pressure of believing that our hope of love, fulfillment, security and belonging all being based on external circumstances is just too much weight for the human soul to bear. So much pressure that lots of us individuals, our families and various other people groups just acquiesce into lifestyles that determine their direction for them, such as:
conformity--the breeder of comparison and the killer of originality
poverty--the the breeder of victimization and the killer of dreams
rebellion--the breeder of hate and the killer of peace
all these lifestyle choices crush our will and desire to change
Consequently, we live in a county full of folks running their little hamster wheels like mad, hoping to attain this amazing life that says to the world we are fit, happy, powerful and successful. But, behind those double-mortgaged closed doors...life sucks! We have bills out the wahzoo; we're living paycheck-to-paycheck; we're plagued with fear, loneliness, anger, envy, self-pity (just to name a few); we're on some type of psychotropic med for coping; our marriage feels like the biggest mistake ever; our kids are crazy-town; we can barely stand to look at ourselves in the mirror AND it's all the fault of our parents, the government and of course, God!
So, we start to fake it--hiding, pretending, living behind masks, walls and self-imposed prisons. All of us deceived "Children of the Lie", spinning our little hamster wheels into shameful lifestyles of self-comfort and numbing out with food, TV, shopping, drinking, drugs, porn--anything to anesthetize, so we don't have to think about or feel the painful realities of our unmet needs, ungratified wants, unsatisfied desires and unfulfilled dreams. And our goal every morning becomes to man up in our bestest disguise or coat of armor, if need be, so no one gets even a glimpse of who we really are--a big, miserable phony that would give their right arm to have the happy, successful life of a YouTube star.
Oh, my gosh! I don't know about you, but that does not sound like freedom at all or what life is supposed to be like here in the land of the free and the home of the brave! That sounds more like a freaking nightmare! And it was a nightmare...my nightmare...accept I only ate loads of junk food to sooth my envy, raged at my family out of self-hatred, and cussed like a sailor behind closed doors. Ha! I believe I acted out like this because I was so relieved when I could finally be myself, after the front door closed and I shut out the world I had to perform for. And to top it off, I was pastor's wife! Yeah, I know. It was ugly. So, you should be feeling better about yourself already.
You see, I can write about it now, because I road that big ole' fat lie like a buckin' bronco until it was just about the death of me. It took me lotsa prayer, counseling, inner healing, deliverance, coaching, self-help seminars, breakthrough weekends and whatever else came down the pike, to help me just begin to get free of the lies that had me imprisoned. Then, even longer before realizing there was an entirely different way to live that looked and felt like freedom. Honestly, it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride to break completely free of the identity and lifestyle I had built around lies.
But the roller coaster stopped and let me off one particular morning, a morning I will never forget. I had a nose-to-nose, off-the-chain, hard-to-believe, supernatural encounter with the Living God of Truth that rocked me to the core and forever changed me from the inside out. Seriously! I wouldn't B.S. about anything like this. The Lover of my Soul chased me down, tackled me to the ground and rubbed my face in the depths of His furious love, until it hurt so good I could hardly stand it, but cried for MORE!!! It was so real and tangible that it makes my insides shake to describe it...my fingers are struggling to stay on the keyboard as I type. It was like He finally unraveled my heart, emptied all the yuck out of my soul and rattled all the wrong thinking out of my head in one fell swoop.
I'd love to tell you all about it, and I promise I will. So, stay tuned to my weekly blog posts, as I plan to unpack my story eventually. I finally feel confident enough in my journey to write about my story, since I have chosen whose I am, who I am and not budging anytime soon. But I will leave you with this...
A joyful, content life of love, acceptance, fulfillment and belonging are absolutely possible, when you simply switch to living from truth instead of lies and receive your identity from the one who Created you.
Which brings make back to the opening topic of "Choice". It's true that we get to choose who we are, but it has nothing to do with what we do. It instead has everything to do with who and what we listen to. We become what we believe. I now fight for my time with the Lord like my life depends on it, so I can hear Him remind me of all the truths I need to live a Courageous life. Things like "I am valuable", "I am loved" and "I belong to Him...just because!" I finally found the love that will never let go and the truth that I can stake my life on.
And that truth is, we choose everyday who we are because we have the freedom to choose who we will serve everyday--truth or lies--like Joshua tells us in verse 24:15. But, it took quite a journey for me to get to this place where I believe I even have a choice. Which may be where you are right now. If that's true, we'd love to help you own your freedom to choose a lifestyle of courage, by leading you on your own a Courageous Journey. My hubby and I have pulled together all of the best practices and freedom tools that have helped us transform our own lives and we can't wait to empower you to uncover your identity, redeem your past and discover your destiny.
All you have to do is visit us at www.BeCourageousCoaching.com and bravely say, "YES!"